It’s a little bit cliché to say that we are in crazy times right now… But we’re in pretty crazy times right now. COVID-19 has everyone going through their daily lives in very different ways. Those who can, are working from home. Waiting in line at the grocery store like it’s Disneyland. Eating in a restaurant not really an option.
People are turning to the internet for things they would normally get out in the real world. This means that small businesses have to be even more present online. Customers can’t come into your store or office looking for your goods and services. So, you need to make sure that you are coming to them. Well, to their computer that is.
This all means that not only is your website more important than ever, but so is your SEO. Marketing people and web developers have probably thrown this word around or even at you without ever explaining what it is. I’m not going to do that. Not only am I going to define SEO for you, I’m even going to give you some tips on how to increase it.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It refers to where you show up if someone googles your business or keywords associated with what you do. If your site shows up on the first page, you’ve got good SEO. If it shows up as the first result, you have amazing SEO. Unless you have a very niche business, getting amazing SEO isn’t easy. However, getting good SEO is within reach.
How to SEO your website
There are a few ways to build up SEO. One of the main ones is to know your keywords. What do you want people to search that will pull you up? If you’re a restaurant, your keywords are probably going to be more focused on the kind of food you make or maybe the atmosphere of your restaurant. If you’re in retail, your keywords are going to be in relation to what you sell.
Once you identify your keywords, SEO gets a bit easier. At that point, you can start on your content. In descriptions of your products and services on your site, try to include those keywords (where it makes sense of course; describing a burger as “family-friendly” doesn’t really work). If you can, write some blogs about what you do. For example, if you sell handmade jewelry, write 1000 words on what’s trending in the jewelry world. Another example, just as a crazy hypothetical: if you’re a digital marketing company, you may want to write a blog about SEO and why it’s important. Again, that’s just a hypothetical. In these blogs, you can use your keywords a few times and the search engines will pick up on that, bumping you further up the list.
An important thing to remember: if you are going to be putting blogs on your site, you need to be sure that they are up to date. Search engines prefer information with recent dates over something that is a few years old. Make a new blog post at least once a week if you can. Keep your content current and topical.
Content featuring keywords is good, but content writer beware, too many uses of a keyword can hurt you. Search engines don’t trust sites that are clearly trying to cheat the system. If you have a blog or description that uses your keywords over and over again, search engines might skip past it, thinking of it as spam. Plus, your customers won’t like it too much either because it’ll be hard to read. Be smart in your usage. Don’t use the keyword you’re focusing on 100 times in a 1000-word blog post.
Another way to help with SEO is to alert the search engines to your presence. This is done pretty easily. All of the major search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo) have ways for you to submit your site’s details to them. This doesn’t guarantee that you’ll rank highly in their searches, but it always helps to make them aware of you.
Meta descriptions and alt-text can help bump your SEO as well. Let’s talk about what these are for a minute, because if you are not the technologically inclined, they probably just sound like Transformers. You know when you google something, and the results have brief descriptions in gray text? That is a meta description. They give the searcher a little preview of what is on your site. They aren’t wholly necessary. If you don’t have a meta description, the search engine will just pull out whatever information seems relevant to the search. But just because they aren’t necessary doesn’t mean they aren’t useful. Having meta descriptions make your site seem more professional and search engines like that.
Alt tags are for images. They are brief descriptions of what the picture is. This is a perfect opportunity for keywords! Selling some lotion and have a picture of the bottle? Make your alt tag “high quality lotion.” Have a picture of people laughing for your blog post titled “How to make people like you?” Make your alt tag “likable people.” Just another chance to boost up how likely you are to show up in a search.
If you do all of this, how can you know if it is even making a difference? This is where web analytics programs come into play. These are programs like Google Analytics (which is free, by the way), that keep track of how users interact with your site. If you are doing your SEO right, you should be able to see your organic traffic go up on these programs. You can also see your rankings go up if you link Google Search Console to the Analytics program.
Link building is another important factor of SEO. If you’re a local business, the best way to get more links is to list your company on web directories such as The Yellow Pages, Google My Business, and Yelp. There are hundreds of web directories out there and the more consistent you are with adding listings to your business, the more links you will get to your business from these types of websites.
At the same time there are other strategies to build links from other websites such as reaching out to companies to tell them about relevant content on your site that they could link to, or by posting great content, and having others link to it because it’s good information.
With COVID-19, everyone is stuck at home and are doing what they can online to avoid leaving the house. This is the time for your business’s website to shine. But it can’t shine very well if you don’t have proper SEO. These tips should be able to help you start getting your SEO on track. Read more here about how SEO recommendations can change or get in touch with us!